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Officials, nonprofit leaders gather to memorialize shooting victims

By Sebastian Miño-Bucheli and Anna Hoch-Kenney

  • Jan 24, 2024 Updated Jan 30, 2024

On the day of the one-year anniversary of the January 2023 shootings, leaders of various non-profits and Latino Community Foundation spoke with top San Mateo County politicians and Biden administration officials to share insights of the shootings and the unveiling of an artwork dedicated to farmworkers.

Pedro Romero, who sustained critical injuries in the first shootings, wanted to speak up about his experience at the roundtable event hosted by Ayudando Latinos a Soñar. Romero said in Spanish that he came to the United States to seek a better life for his family. A year ago, Romero says his brother and him left to work and didn’t know what was going to happen.

“My brother, Jose Romero, was with me and is no longer with me,” said Pedro Romero in Spanish. “I ask for your help for support, he leaves behind three children and a teen daughter.” 

Despite the tragedy, Romero gave thanks to the organizations and San Mateo County for paying his rent and supporting his family. 

Other officials invited to speak at the day’s event included Julian Castro, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, a representative of San Mateo County Supervisor Ray Mueller, Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquin Jiminez, Chinese and Latino community leaders, and family members of Marciano Martinez-Jimenez who was killed. 

While there was a lot of praise amongst every organization's leaders for acting swiftly in response to the shootings, during Mayor Joaquin Jimenez’s turn he said that the tragedy will open the eyes to the rest of the world.

Jimenez said that in his travels around California and other states, what the world saw in Half Moon Bay is nothing compared to what he’s seen elsewhere. He says he met some farmworkers who live in tents.

“They don’t have Half Moon Bay,” said Jimenez. “Change happens here, it has ripple effects – Half Moon Bay is becoming a model community for other communities.”

Later in the evening, guests from the roundtable, Chinese farmworkers in the Coastside and members of the media were invited to the ALAS headquarters on Purissima Street. The event included Mariachi music, a blessing from Father Edwin of University of San Francisco, traditional Chinese Guzheng music and words from political leaders and community members alike. 

In the last act of the tribute, Redwood City artist Fernando Escartiz unveiled his sculpture, “El Corazón del Campesino”, which was commissioned by the ALAS non-profit organization to memorialize the 2023 farmworker shootings.

The Winged Heart sculpture will remain in the garden in front of the main ALAS office.  

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